Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finally It Is Ready

After much packing, purging, packing, chucking, packing, purging, and unpacking my new classroom is finally ready for occupancy. I will begin teaching there tomorrow. I'm so excited. Twenty-five students will arrive, eagerly seeking a new room. I'm sure that there will be very little learning happening. So, (drum roll please) I introduce MY NEW CLASSROOM!

This is the LONG hall to my room. Once you get through this hall you have to walk through the entry, down the old hall and finally to the front doors to go to recess or to the gym for lunch and P.E. We will all be a little healthier by the end of the school year. But, it is bright and smells like fresh paint and new carpet!
My favorite part is my office right in the back of the room. It has a lot of storage and most of it is empty. I haven't accumulated enough, yet, to fill it up.
My soft, squishy office chair fits perfect in the office. Now I don't have to share it with kids because... NO KIDS ALLOWED! That white board on the floor will be mounted on the wall there sometime. Why? Because it can't go anywhere else. My own children will be able to draw pictures on it.

This is what you see when you first walk in. The door on the right is to my office. The superintendent said the current furniture now looks ugly and so we can all expect new desks or tables by Fall. The best part? Those big windows straight ahead that offer plenty of sunlight and can be opened for fresh air. Didn't have that in the old room.

Right inside the door is this washing station. It evens comes with hot water. Now we can wash away even more germs. By next Fall it will be equipped with a drinking spout.

The coat cubbies are around the corner from the doorway so no one will have to step on coats or backpacks or boots or snowpants to come in. What a bonus. The cubbies are bigger and can hold more "stuff" during the winter.
The computer center is nicely tucked over on the side of the room. Next Fall it will have five brand new 20" flat screen monitors. That will be nice. The counter is too high and so the students will sit on stools instead of chairs. That's ok because I will be able to tuck them neatly under the counter.

This can be called the "Center of our Universe." I love the magnetic whiteboard that doesn't have permanent black clouds on it. However, I can't use tape or ticky tack on the board. I've made a ton of magnets instead. Do you love the TV stand hanging in the top left hand corner? Someday it'll have a TV in it. Until then Curious George and the Construction Ducks call it home.
That's the tour. There are many things that aren't ready yet such as there are no phones or communication devises in the new wing. We are using cell phones for now. And hopefully the computers will be ready by Friday. The office is a million miles away but that will keep me out of the candy cupboard. It is almost a two block walk to the gym and to recess but by the time we get there the kids will be all warmed up and ready to go. When we walk back they will be so worn out they'll just want to sit. But, we are so grateful for this new building and the space that it provides. Can't wait for total completion next Fall.

A Day of Thanks

Adrienne Grant, age 11
Blowing out the candles while the cousins look on.

Kathrynn Grant, age 11
What would we do without Grandma's cakes to put candles on?

Adri and Katy
aka The Twins, Twinners, Girlies, Kadri

I spent the day thinking about the twins. Adi and Katy turned 11 years old. They have been so excited for their birthday to come. I'm always excited for their birthday to come - just wasn't so excited about their "birth day." This is the day that I reflect on that day.

Looking at the twins today - tall, happy, healthy, active - you would never imagine what their beginning was like. As I was sorting laundry, eleven years ago today, I felt what I assumed were fake labor pains. I was almost 27 weeks along in a pregnancy that had been full of surprises, especially the announcement that we were having twins. I had never had any kind of fake labor with the other pregnancies so I didn't question them. But, after about two hours and the pain increasing to the point that I couldn't walk, I decided to visit the doctor. Trent met me at the hospital and we were immediately put on the monitor. My greatest fears were realized when the doctor told us that the twins were on their way. There was nothing we could do to stop them. So, arrangements were made to send the twins, after delivery, to Primary Children's Hospital. Two helicopters made their way to the hospital in Soda Springs and then rushed our two little girls away. I was able to see, hear and touch Katy but only caught a brief glimpse of Adri (all blue) before they were taken away. Each girl weighed in at just under 2 pounds. Their heads were smaller than my fist and their arms were so skinny that Trent's wedding ring fit up to their shoulders. For nearly two months they fought for life. They received a marvelous blessing from their grandpa that promised them they would run and play just like all the other kids. People all over the world prayed for them daily. And we waited and watched in awe as they grew and surprised us all once again with their strength and ability to defy the odds.

Today we have two beautiful happy girls that "run and play just like all the other kids." And so today, as I do every year, I say thank you to many people. Thanks to a wise doctor who knew he was way over his head and sent our girls to doctors and staff with the knowledge to help them. Thanks to family and friends around the world who prayed for them with great faith. Thanks to a dear husband who lifted and supported me in my rollercoaster of emotions (we were good together) and gave a blessing to a tiny baby girl before she left in a helicopter. Thanks to an unknown "Elder" who answered the call to give a stranger's baby girl a priesthood blessing away from home. Thanks for another priesthood blessing that I put all my trust and faith in. Thanks to two older children who somehow understood that I was needed somewhere else and have forgiven me for not being with them that summer. Thanks to our parents who sacrificed so much to help us then and for years to come. Thanks to two baby girls who fought for every single breath for weeks and every single pound for months. And thanks to my Father in Heaven who brought these two bundles of joy into our lives in such an unusual but marvelous way and answered all of our prayers.

Happy birthday Girlies!!!!!!
We LOVE you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

Shaggy Tigers

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. shredded potatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste
1 can cream of mushroom or tomato soup

Mix and form into patties. Brown, and top with mushroom or tomato soup. Cook in 300 degree oven for 1/2 hour. Serve with rice. Use soup as gravy for the rice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Busy Time of Life

I feel like I am rushing around, never stopping, and not accomplishing anything. We recently were told that we had to move out of our classrooms and into our new classrooms. I'm so excited for the new rooms. They are beautiful and with all the stuff I don't have, they should continue to be beautiful. But, this will happen this week and next. We were planning for the end of May. The move has also bumped up our state testing, which everything hinges on. Three weeks shouldn't make that much difference but it does. Along with all the other chaos, rumors, wars, and rumors of wars within the district I am thoroughly stressed out.

The fun thing has been purging my room. I inherited the room and the stuff that came with it. Today I threw out 5 garbage cans of stuff. I don't really know what else to call it. I've given away over a hundred books to the kids - not used so much in the classroom. I've given away posters, including 3 Presidential posters that ended with George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Figured those could go. I found beakers and test tubes (with dried up spiders) and many other things that brought quizzical glances from the students. I also catalogued all the books I've purchased - 386 of them. I truly can say that my room is dejunked. If I haven't used it in 4 years and I haven't heard of the teacher whose name appears on it, toss it out. That's been a good rule for me. I hope some of my fellow teachers can adopt this same philosophy.

So, when all this stress has passed and I am organized, you are all welcome to come see my new room. It should be a breath of fresh air.

Oh, and I forgot Tasty Tuesdays. Sorry Summer!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

A friend of mine started a Tasty Tuesday idea. All you have to do is blog a recipe that someone else might want to try.

Tuesdays at my house are obnoxiously busy. So, I'm always trying to find something quick, fast, and light for dinner. Here is one that not only fits the requirements but is also very cheap.

Skillet Beef N'Noodles
2 pkg Ramen Beef Flavored Noodles
1 lb ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
1 can Tomato Soup
1/2 can water
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
generous dash pepper
grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare noodles according to package. Add seasoning packets, drain off most of the liquid. Set aside. Cook onion and ground beef until browned and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in tomato soup, water, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Add noodles. Heat through, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Marriage Secret

I don't read many comics but I do enjoy Pickles. I find it very funny. I don't know if it is at all relevent because I haven't reached that stage in life, yet. Maybe I like it because I love to watch the older couples that live in my ward and live in my little world. I've learned a lot about marriage from them. (I think that the Pickles family could learn a thing or two from these couples, also.) One Sunday, a few years ago, I was sitting in Relief Society next to a wonderful older lady. She told me that they were celebrating their anniversary that week. We figured out that our anniversaries were on the same day, just 55 years apart. We talked about how successful her marriage was and what she thought the secret was. She said, "We have always taken care of each other. " She died a few months later. Now her husband sits quietly alone, waiting for the day that he will be able to take care of her again.

My neighbors have been married for eons. I'm not sure how old they are but they are both around 90. One day, during a lesson on marriage, they said the secret to their marriage was doing the dishes together each night and taking care of one another. In November, the husband fell and broke his hip. He spent nearly two months in a rehabiliation center. His wife stayed with him, sleeping in a reclining chair every night. I asked her why she didn't come home. She said, "I've got to take care of him." He just smiled. Well, it has been another month and a half and he is still unable to get around well on his own. When I visit he tells me the things she does for him and talks about how good she is at "taking care of me."

Well, yesterday, the wife fell outside their home and broke her arm. This is the arm that helps him up from bed, to the walker, to the wheelchair, and to the recliner he sits in. When I visited today I asked, "How will you help him if you have a bum arm?" She smiled as he said, "Well, I guess I finally get to take care of her." Then they both giggled.